First World War - cease-fire message

Contributed by Jos Johnston

First World War - cease-fire message

When my grandfather Lt Col (later Lt Gen Sir) William Dobbie heard people say what they had done in the Great War, he replied that he had "stopped the beastly thing!"

As Staff Officer on duty at Advanced GHQ early on 11th November 1918 it was he who signed the order to all the troops on the Western Front to cease hostilities at 11am.

The message sent to the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th & 5th Armies, the RAF, Cavalry, Tank Corps other units and copied to foreign missions reads;

"Hostilities will cease at 1100 today, November 11th AAA Troops will stand fast on the line reached at that hour, which will be reported by wire to Advanced G.H.Q. AAA Defensive precautions will be maintained AAA There will will be no intercourse of any description with the enemy until the receipt of instructions from GHQ AAA Further instructions to follow AAA ACKNOWLEDGE AAA"

"W G S Dobbie
Lt Col, General Staff"

A committed Christian, he wrote home, "God has been wonderfully good, far more so than we have deserved or could have expected," - a message perhaps for today's troubled times.

Sadly stopping the first war did not stop the second where he was Governor of Malta GC during the seige 1940-42.

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  • 1 comment
  • 1. At 17:40 on 9 October 2010, Ginevra da Benci wrote:

    My grandfather, A. S. Bullock, a private in the 2/5th Glosters, remembered this momentous message being read out to the troops near Maresches. It was a bitterly cold day, he recalled, with frozen snow and ice on the road. The men listened to the order of the day, and "The reaction... astounded me. This was the announcement which they had all longed for years to hear. It was the best news they could possibly hope for. The announcement was received in dead silence and without any reaction at all." Perhaps they were all too worn out to throw up their caps? Maybe they didn't even know whether they had won?

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France - British Army Adv GHQ


11th November 1918 at 6.50 am


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